Americans who are unable to pay their rent and feed themselves and their families can finally rest easy, for Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have shown they once again know exactly what we all need—a robust corporate tax deduction for business meals. Is it time to eat the rich yet? Maybe we could write it off on our taxes, an additional perk I hadn’t considered possible until today!
According to the Washington Post, the draft of the latest covid-19 relief bill, in addition to belated and insufficient but still welcome financial relief, also includes an expansion of what has long been called the “three-martini lunch deduction,” which allows businesses to deduct meal expenses from their taxes. Previously, these poor souls could only write off 50 percent of their meals at Capital Grille—but now, if Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have their way, the full cost of these shitty meals will now be able to be deducted.
As the Tax Policy Center acerbically noted of the “three-martini lunch deduction”:
Corporate executives and small business owners routinely used it to write off personal expenses as costs of doing business. Want to take your spouse to a fancy anniversary dinner? Charge it to the business and take a deduction. Want to shoot a round at the country club? Take a client—and claim a deduction. The tax scam has been around so long that martinis had time to be fashionable, become passe, and turn trendy all over again.
The Washington Post reported that Republicans pushed hard for this tax deduction, which is estimated to cost around a few billion dollars each year, and that “Democratic leaders agreed to the provision in exchange for Republicans agreeing to expand tax credits for low-income families and the working poor in the final package.”
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump loves this “tax scam,” which certainly doesn’t benefit the mom-and-pop shops that have struggled to survive during the pandemic and will barely even make a difference for high-end establishments but would certainly benefit him. The Post recalled that in April, he spoke of the need to let people use the tax code to write off the cost of a liquid lunch. “They’ll send their executives, they’ll send people there, and they get a deduction,” Trump said at the time. “That is something that will really bring life back to the restaurants; I think make them hotter than before. You know, they used to have it. And when they ended it, it was really never the same. It was never the same.”
You know what would actually make restaurants, one in six of which have closed due to the pandemic according to one survey, “hotter than before”? Actually controlling the pandemic! HAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA.